Judge Denies Motion to Suppress Blood Sample in Issue of Consent in DUI Case

By Jariah Moore

WOODLAND, CA – Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock denied a motion to suppress a blood sample gathered from a chemical blood test in a driving under the influence case following a dispute over whether or not the accused provided his consent to the blood test.

The court noted the incident took place on July 9, 2022, after the accused collided with a wooden pole while driving.

Officer Ben Greenlee, who investigated the accused that day and determined that he would arrest him, was called to the stand to provide his testimony on the matter of consent to the chemical blood test.

Clips of Officer Greenlee’s bodycam and dashcam were used by the defense as evidence.

Upon arriving at the scene, Officer Greenlee asked the accused if he was interested in taking a field sobriety test. The accused responded, “No, not today.” As a result, the accused was placed under arrest for driving under the influence.

As he was being handcuffed, the accused stated he would take “the test.” Officer Greenlee then asked if the accused meant that he would take the chemical test.

Officer Greenlee testified to the accused’s response to this question, stating, “I don’t remember what his response was to that. I think he said “yeah,” or “yes,” or “something to that effect.”

However, the defense argued the accused did not offer consent to the chemical blood test, claiming the accused said, “No, the other test.”

After playing the clip containing the accused’s response twice, the judge determined that he would need to interpret what the accused said in response to the officer’s question.

Officer Greenlee added he placed the accused in his patrol car, at which point he explained to the accused they would be going to the hospital, where the chemical blood test would be conducted. During this time, however, the officer had not turned his bodycam back on.

“Unfortunately, I did turn my bodycam off prior to that point and I neglected to turn it back on when I asked him that,” Officer Greenlee said.

He explained further, “So after I placed [the accused] under arrest, I placed him in the front seat of my patrol car. I then turned off my body camera because he was already in the patrol car, and I had other paperwork to fill out.”

After Officer Greenlee completed the paperwork and spoke with the firefighters on the scene in order to “get their statements,” he then returned to the patrol car, where he claims he spoke to the accused about taking the chemical blood test.

The officer estimates that the gap in time in which his body cam was off was approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

The defense attorney explained that based on the timestamps of the videos that there was “no more than a four minute time span” between the officer turning his bodycam off and back on. During this time, the dash cam was still on.

The defense claims that, “And during that time, no consent admonishment was (made), no discussion of any test was provided, no discussion of going to the hospital was provided.”

The defense noted after playing a clip from the officer’s dash cam that the accused seemed confused about where the officer was taking him. The accused also stated several times that he did not want to go to the hospital.

Officer Greenlee told the accused, “It’s not up to me, I have to do this anytime anybody’s in a car accident and they get arrested for DUI.  I have to take them to the hospital first.”

The officer testified, “He just kept complaining about he didn’t want to go to the hospital, because he felt like it was a waste of his time,” adding the officer said the issue of the accused not wanting to go to the hospital and whether or not he wanted to take the chemical blood test were “completely separate issues.”

The defense attorney argued the accused went to the hospital with the understanding that he would receive medical treatment, stating, “So at this point, [the accused’s] understanding is that he’s going to the hospital for the purposes of medical treatment because he has no choice but to, not for the purposes of a chemical test.”

The defense further noted the hospital staff did not tell the accused that his blood was being drawn for the purpose of gathering evidence.

The defense attempt to submit bodycam and dashcam footage that was not played during the hearing was denied on the basis of a lack of foundation.

The deputy district attorney concluded that, “I think that it’s fairly clear that, from the officer’s testimony, that [the accused] did at the scene before he was transported to the hospital, was admonished about his requirements to take the chemical test, seems that he freely gave his consent to do that.”

By the end of the hearing, Judge Stephen Mock stated he “cannot find that there is any refusal by the defendant” to take the chemical blood test. The defense’s motion to suppress the blood sample gathered from the chemical test was denied.

The judge set a future court date for March 22.

About The Author

Jariah Moore is a third-year student at UCLA. She obtained an AA in English prior to transferring, and will earn a BA in English in 2024. Upon graduation, she plans to attend law school and become an attorney. She hopes to advocate for minority groups throughout her practice.

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